Skin cancer is a scary diagnosis, but it is important for patients in the Centreville, VA area to know that early screenings can help with early intervention. Skin cancer is one of the few cancers that are easily detectable and visible. When patients know what to look for, they will increase their chances of getting a diagnosis early on. At Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia, now a part of U.S. Dermatology Partners, we are dedicated to assisting patients in the Centreville area with their skin care concerns.
How to identify the signs of skin cancer
Dr. Neeraja Mattay and her team work with patients to help them understand the importance of routine skin cancer screenings. All adults should have an annual screening done at their local dermatology practice. Skin cancer screenings are done by a dermatologist who evaluates the skin from head to toe to look for any signs of lesions, moles, skin tags, or other growths that may indicate a potential for skin cancer. Additionally, when patients have these screenings done yearly, the doctor can monitor for any changes that may occur between evaluations. This can also increase the chances of finding cancerous areas earlier than ever before.
The signs of skin cancer typically include a growth or lesion on the skin, including moles, that grow or change in size, shape, or color. It is best for patients to have any unusual area of the skin evaluated by a professional to get a biopsy when necessary. Biopsies involve the removal of a small portion of the growth to have it evaluated by a cancer specialist to see if cancer cells are present. If this is the case, the doctor will then discuss with patients the options available for treatment.
What skin cancer treatment is available at Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia?
There are a few different ways for patients to address skin cancer at the practice of Dr. Neeraja Mattay. They include:
• Cryosurgery – for some of our patients, cryosurgery may work best for the removal of cancerous skin cells. This is a method of essentially freezing the area and is done right in our office.
• Excision – basic excision is often performed for larger areas of skin cancer. This is surgical removal of the lesion with the use of local anesthetics for patient comfort. Excision can remove skin cancer from any area of the body but may leave behind scarring.
• Chemotherapy – traditional chemotherapy is often not needed for skin cancer, but patients may benefit from topical chemotherapy. This is applied to the area for targeted treatment.
• Referrals for Mohs micrographic surgery – our practice does not offer this treatment, but there are times when patients may be a great candidate for a procedure known as Mohs. We provide referrals to Mohs specialists who can offer this special excision procedure for patients with recurring cancer or with cancer present on highly visible areas of the body such as the face.
How can patients prevent skin cancer?
Skin cancer is often preventable when patients take diligent care of their skin. One of the most common reasons skin cancer develops is due to ultraviolet exposure. This is exposure to the sun or tanning beds. Patients of all ages are urged to protect their skin every day by using sunscreen with a high SPF on all exposed areas of the skin, including the face, arms, and hands. Avoiding tanning booths is also important, as this can greatly increase one’s risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Patients should also be proactive in monitoring their skin for signs of skin cancer, including new or changing skin lesions such as moles or growths that may be an indication of cancer. These screenings should be done annually by a trained dermatologist.
If you are interested in learning more about the services and treatments we offer, contact Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia Centreville. We assist patients of all ages in our state-of-the-art facility. We provide medical and cosmetic dermatology solutions to men and women at both our Centreville and Sterling locations. Our Centreville location can be reached at (703) 222-2773 and is conveniently located in Suite #301 at 13880 Braddock Road. We accept new patients who are ready for quality, comprehensive dermatological care.